Introduction to Theology & Religious Studies (RL 101)
This course introduces students to the academic study of religion by exploring the various ways individuals and communities articulate their experience of the divine. We will move from a general consideration of the nature of religious experience to the ways in which this experience takes shape in various sacred scriptures, traditions, theologies, and moral claims. (NOTE: This section qualifies as a Catholic Studies course. As such, it gives special emphasis to the Catholic Christian religious tradition, but with a generous openness to other religious traditions and all points of view.)
Contemporary Catholic Theology (RL 231)
This course offers an overview of contemporary issues in Roman Catholic theology. It encourages a critical and constructive engagement with central Catholic doctrines, communal structures, sacramental practices, and moral teachings.
Saints and Society (RL 299)
This course studies the theological significance of saints in the Roman Catholic Tradition. Together we will explore the history of saints and saint-making, paying particular attention to the ways in which changing historical, social, and cultural contexts impact Christian views of holiness. Topics include the origins of the cult of the saints, changing models of sanctity, ritual and devotional practices, the process and politics of canonization, and the implications of the veneration of saints for a theological treatment of God, the church, and the human person.
What Happened at Vatican II (RL 399)
The Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) was one of the most significant religious events of the twentieth century. Its influence is still felt in virtually every area of Catholic life. This course studies the Second Vatican Council as a historical, sociological, and theological event. It explores what happened at Vatican II—paying particular attention to both the causes and the effects of the council in the life of the Roman Catholic Church.
Introduction to Systematic Theology (RL 430)
Systematic theology is an area of theology that explores the meaning and interrelationship of important doctrines within a particular religious tradition. This course is an introduction to Catholic systematic theology. It will examine several key concepts (revelation, faith, scripture, tradition, community, and method) and then explore how these concepts play out in a few significant theologians from the premodern (Thomas Aquinas), modern (Karl Rahner), and postmodern (Johann Baptist Metz and various theologians of liberation) periods. Beginning with the assumption that all theology is contextual, the course will locate these thinkers within their different historical and cultural worlds—with the goal of inviting students to reflect on what it means to do theology out of their own unique commitments, contexts, and life experiences.